Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.
As far back as I (and probably you) can remember, society has taught me to hate my body. Being constantly bombarded by fad-diets, schemes to get smaller hips, cellulite zappers, and miracle hair growers- we have it embedded in our minds that we are not good enough. We seem to always be searching for the next big thing to make us skinnier, more attractive, and less flawed beings and after all these procedures and 30 day trials,we hope to finally be able to love what we see in the mirror.
But recently, I’ve stopped believing what society is telling me.
The further into the study of psychology and eating disorder treatment I get, i am completely dumbfounded by the amount of respect I have gained for the human body.
What could we do without our body?
Where could we go without our body?
With whom could we communicate without our bodies?
We could not learn or jump or hold those we love. We could not go to class or eat delicious food or give piggy back rides. We could not go on vacations or swim in the ocean or feel the sun beating down on our skin. We could not tell those we love that we love them. We could not give encouraging words and hugs to those who are struggling.
In a society that practically encourages self-hate, why are we not talking more about what the amazing human body CAN do?
Why do we hate our bodies so much? Why do we criticize and pick apart and change and modify the only thing that has ever really been OURS?
What is this phenomenon about hating the very thing that gives us the ability to do everything we love?
I’m at a point in my life and in my studies where I cannot go an hour without thinking about these questions. And I cannot stop searching for the answers.
Surely a culture-driven pressure has added to this.
Surely a lack of research and treatment for deadly disorders such as eating disorders contributes to this.
But I cannot help thinking that perhaps a lack of respect and appreciation for our body’s capabilities is also a root cause.
Now as a psychology major and with my experience working with eating disorders, I in NO way think that this disordered behavior and thinking can just be “fixed” by more gratitude for the body. Eating disorders are a disease that require intense treatment of the body and mind. They are complex and there is no simple fix.
However, I do believe that a general shift in how we see our bodies and their purpose can greatly impact those who are not yet victim to ED’s powerful hold. I BELIEVE it can impact how we raise our children to think about health and their bodies. I believe it can reduce the pressure we put on each other to look a certain way. And I believe that it can make us all a little more grateful for how blessed we are.
So see your body for what it really is: a gift, a facilitator, a miraculous and magnificent perfectly timed machine, and a home.
Next time you go to criticize your body : think about what it IS doing for you rather than what you think it is lacking.
MY body is more than what I see in the mirror. My body is more than cellulite, scars, acne, or excess fat. My body is more than big hips or thighs that touch.
MY body is what takes me on my knees in the morning to thank a loving God for another day.
MY body is what lets me open up a book and lose myself in fantasy.
My body is what lets me comfort a crying child and hug a friend.
My body is what lets me snuggle my puppies and give them baths.
My body is what lets me laugh until I am in tears.
My body is what lets me run and lift weights at the gym, swim in the ocean, and play in the sand.
My body is what lets me go to work every day and write thoughts like these that hopefully change someone’s mind about their body.
My body is more than what I see in the mirror and so is yours.